EFCC arraigns 3 in Sokoto for vote buying
From Umar Danladi Ado, Sokoto
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Sokoto Zonal Office has arraigned three persons before the state High Court on conspiracy and bribery charges.
The arraigned trio of Aminu Umar Gagi, Ibrahim Ahmed (a.k.a Ibrahim Ibson) and Aliyu Suleiman (a.k.a Pilisco) appeared before Justice Isah Muhammad Bargaja of the Sokoto State High Court on three-count charges, bordering on conspiracy and bribery.
Trouble started for the three as the commission received intelligence on February 23, 2019, being the day of this year’s Presidential election, to the effect that money was being deployed to influence the outcome of voting at Gagi Ward, Nakasarin Magaji area of Sokoto metropolis.
Operatives of the commission mobilised to polling unit, arrested the defendants alongside N400, 000 found on them, believed to have been set aside for bribing INEC officials and other key members of the election team at the polling station.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Aminu Umar Gaji, Ibrahim Ahmed and Aliyu Suleiman, on or about 23rd day of February, 2019 at Gaji Ward, Nakasarin Magaji Area of Sokoto metropolis, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit, taking gratification in order to influence public servants, contrary to section 97 and punishable under section 116 of the Penal Code Law.”
They pleaded not guilty to the charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, M.M. Gambo, to ask for a trial date and a plea that the defendants be remanded in prison custody by the court.
The defence counsel, M. M. Yabo, however, informed the court of a bail application for his clients and urged the court to grant the bail.
Gambo, however, opposed his prayer, saying the application was served on him that morning and needed time to respond.
Justice Bargaja ordered that they be remanded in EFCC’s custody, pending the determination of their bail application and adjourned the matter to last Friday for hearing of the bail application and November 4, 2019 for trial.